Diversifying the Pacific workforce, addressing barriers to employment and leveraging Pacific entrepreneurship are the key objectives of the Government’s newly launched Pacific Employment Action Plan.
The plan was launched by Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, at the first of three Pacific Post-Budget 2022 breakfasts being held over the next fortnight.
“The action plan sets out a vision to deliver better employment opportunities and services for Pacific peoples across employment, self-employment, and training,” the Minister said.
“We are undertaking a range of reforms and reviews to ensure that we deliver greater impact for Pacific people across all areas that support people being in good work. Ensuring all Pacific communities can participate in a productive and dynamic labour market is at the heart of our Employment Strategy.”
He said the launch of the Pacific Employment Action Plan further strengthens discussion and engagement with Pacific communities to design an Employment, Education and Training system that works for them.
“Diversifying the Pacific workforce reflects the need to support Pacific inclusion across industries and occupations through workforce development initiatives, sector capability development and improvements.”
“The plan’s second objective identifies the importance of continued work to address systemic barriers faced by Pacific communities in the employment, education and training system.
“A key part of the plan is leveraging Pacific entrepreneurship which will enable Pacific people to create careers and business opportunities that reflect our cultural values and aspirations.
“This includes actions relating to work by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ operational policy team to improve economic development through enhanced business services access, as well as through capital support for Pacific businesses and enhancing community business networks,” Mr Sio said.
The Action Plan is one of seven population-specific employment action plans that support the Government’s wider Employment Strategy led by the Minister for Social Development and Employment, Carmel Sepuloni.
“The Pacific Employment Action Plan is a great example of how the Employment Strategy will support Aotearoa New Zealand to become a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. Our Pacific communities play an integral part in growing our economy and this Plan will help us achieve that,” Minister Sepuloni said.
“The Employment Strategy aims to ensure people can fulfil their potential, find secure employment and have rewarding careers and it is important Pacific people have opportunities to shine. This needs to be done by addressing inequities in our society and ensuring people have the support they need to grow their skills and advance their careers.
“Our Government is committed to making sure our employment system and the programmes we’ve got in place like Apprenticeship Boost, He Poutama Rangatahi and Mana in Mahi, are well placed to help Pacific people into work now and in the future,” she said.
The Ministry for Pacific Peoples secured additional funding through Budget 2022 to support the continuation and enhancement of targeted employment and training initiatives for Pacific communities including:
- $18.28m to continue the Toloa STEAM programme
- $8m to continue delivering employment and training services through Tupu Aotearoa
- $1.6m to maintain the Pacific Work Connect Service for Pacific migrants.
“We are doing this because work is more than just how people support themselves and their families. A well-functioning labour market is vital for economic growth which in turn, allows us to tackle the long-term challenges we must address to lift the wellbeing of Pacific Aotearoa,” Minister Sio said.